Which version of Visual Studio is right for me?

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Today’s independent developers have many options when it comes to the tools they can use to write, debug, test, and build their applications.

Those focusing on Android development will rely on Android Studio, others building primarily for iOS and MacOS will no doubt gravitate to Xcode. And lately, a lot of buildings primarily for the web will feel right at home using Visual Studio Code. However, today we are going to talk about Visual Studio, yes Visual Studio, the full Visual Studio IDE and its versions. We’re going to dig into the reasons why you would want to ditch the Free Community Edition as well as the reasons you have no choice but to open up your digital wallet and spend the extra cash.

Today Microsoft is a very technology-driven organization. For those new to .NET and Microsoft development, this will come as no surprise. Microsoft’s open-mindedness and welcome approach may even seem normal. However, this was not always the case. As someone who has been building .NET apps and Windows apps for almost 15 years, this feels like an alternate reality.

To start this journey, let’s head to visualstudio.com where Microsoft has implemented this very nice tool selection wizard.

You might be thinking “okay, so far so good, what’s really weird about this …” if you happen to select “I want to develop for” Web / Cloud You are greeted by a technology selector that includes Node.js, Python, and Java alongside the expected .NET option. This would have been unheard of just 5 years ago, the idea that Visual Studio is just a great tool for .NET and nothing else has been put aside.

Visual Studio python java net tool selector node

For the purposes of this conversation, we’ll continue with “I want to develop for Mobile using .NET on my Windows machine. This brings the wizard to this suggestion. Which again leaves the question, which edition !? Community, Professional, or Business So let’s start at the top!

Xamarin visual studio visual studio tool selector result

Visual Studio 2019 Enterprise Edition

The Enterprise Edition brings dozens if not more features to the table compared to Professional and Community. I’ll go over some of the most important and valuable features that justify the extra cost.

Real-time dependency validation

This feature gives developers the ability to visualize and validate the architecture of their application. For applications where security and compliance are essential; this characteristic is golden. Of course, you can try to track this yourself or use a third-party static code analysis tool, but the real-time component of this feature helps detect architectural flaws as they are introduced. This means less reworking of the code and better quality of upstream code.

Live unit tests

This feature is greatly underrated, but it is especially useful when refactoring or fixing bugs. Live Unit Testing gives you real-time unit testing feedback as you type. This saves time since comments on your changes are presented to you instantly.

Code coverage

As applications mature, their scale is undoubtedly increasing. Making sure all your code is checked and bug-protected becomes more critical. This is where code coverage comes in. This feature helps you determine to what extent your application is “covered” by the tests.

Visual Studio 2019 Professional Edition

Professional publishing is not a huge leap from the community like the business is. However, organizations beyond a certain size have no choice but to upgrade. This applies to businesses with more than 250 PCs or more than $ 1 million in annual revenue.

Visual Studio 2019 Community Edition

This edition of Visual Studio is intended for students, individuals, and small organizations. However, as explained above, it really is a professional tool. Of course, you won’t get some of the super cool features of the Enterprise Edition, but you can still build just about any type of application, using just about any programming language under the Sun !

If you want a more in-depth look at the differences, please go to https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/vs/compare/ and check them out yourself!

I’ll leave you all on that note, even as a small indie developer the features found in the enterprise edition are very good, they help you produce much better code that leads to much better apps!

Let me know about your experience working with Visual Studio and its various editions in the comments below!

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